In a recent email to a researcher in economic development I wrote of my definition of economic development. My definition, as are open source technology and practices, is ever evolving. I see Economic Development as the linking and leveraging of assets (money, brain power, quality places) to sustain and increase the amount of "good assets" (assets flowing into the community from outside the community) and to reduce the amount of "bad assets" (assets flowing out of the community) as well as to increase the speed of the assets moving within the community and the speed with which the community positively responds to negative changes. The same would hold true no matter what the geographic constraints.
Civic leaders need to decide how best to effect economic development so that it ends up being “good” economic development. To decide requires thinking and doing strategically. We need to think with our brains and our hearts not with parts of our anatomy and our personal wallets.